Before getting pregnant, I knew I wanted to do certain things when we did get pregnant again because I knew it would be our last baby.
When I ended up being admitted to the hospital two weeks ago (at 29 weeks) I knew that meant any plans we had were going to change. I knew those things I had once dreamed of were far-fetched now that I am stuck in a bed (other than to go to the bathroom).
One of those dreams was to have maternity pictures taken. I had purchased this beautiful light blue gown that I had planned to wear for pictures around 36 weeks. Not that I didn’t have maternity pictures taken with my other two pregnancies, but I wanted a more elegant style I suppose you could say. I had the image in my head of floral scenery encasing me in this dress. I had imagined how my newly acquired pink hair would look in that sort of setting. I just simply was excited about every aspect of it. A few days after being admitted, obviously with all that time I had to think, I started thinking about how I would not be able to have maternity pictures; especially the ones I so dreamed of. Then I got to thinking, “why can’t I recreate some sort of picture here in the hospital?” I had Chris bring my gown, makeup, and hair straightener. I did my hair and put on a little bit of makeup. Of course, the underwear that I had purchased to wear with this gown were completely MIA. I tried to make-do with what I had, but it just really was not working. I decided not to wear the gown and that since I was already ready for the occasion that I would see what kind of pictures we could get in my hospital gown. I just wanted to be able to have the pictures before it was too late and then I would wind up being sad about it later. I think we got about 6 pictures, nothing fancy, but they definitely hold true to the situation.
Had I known in advance that this was going to happen, I would not have been so particular to spend extra money on maternity clothes. I had an Easter outfit all planned out. Not that it was anything exactly fancy, but I knew I wanted to “dress the bump” as many times as I could because I would never get to again after this one. Even the outfit that I bought for our pending baby shower/celebration was half pointless because now I won’t even get the chance to wear it either. In the grand scheme I know clothing doesn’t really matter, but it was just the idea in my head that I wanted to do all these things for the last time.
Most people when they get pregnant, start to dream what it will be like when the baby is born. I had all these plans for newborn photos, going home outfit, and just what it would be like to have a new baby all over again. Now that I know for certain that we will have a preemie and he will go straight to the NICU, some of those things had to become less important. I will still get newborn photos, but they likely will be of him laying in an isolette without some cute outfit on and instead he will have cords and tubes helping him along. Any dreams of newborn photos with the kids holding him will have to change to them standing to the side of his isolette. All of the items we had purchased prior to my bed rest stay were bought with the assumption that he would be full term and as big as our other 2 kids (roughly 8 and half pounds). Now we have had to come to terms with the fact that he is going to be somewhere between 3 and 5 pounds (depending on when he makes his debut) and most of the things we bought will not fit him, or he won’t be able to use until he is bigger. There really are not a lot of preemie options for clothes. He won’t even be allowed to wear clothes until he can regulate his own temperature.
Obviously I am not the first, nor will I be the last in this situation. However, trying to morph my mind around having a baby who is a preemie has me on a whole other level of worried. Will he have long term problems from 1) being born early and 2) from living in utero with less than optimal amniotic fluid? How do I protect him from so easily getting sick as I know we have two other kids in the house? Plus, the family that will be around him. I guess it is just going to make me a bit more particular on certain things like making sure people are vaccinated, constantly washing their hands, not smooching on him, not bringing in second hand smoke, and basically just not subjecting him to things that his little body cannot handle. I have to be more stern with family and in a way that sort of has me worried. I need them to take it seriously as he will be so helpless. I have to be able to protect my child.
Then of course, there is the fact that I will be discharged and he won’t be. I have never had to leave a hospital without my baby. I really do not know how to prepare my mind for that. I think it will be bitter-sweet for me. I will rejoice in the fact that I will get to remember what it is like to feel outside air. I will rejoice in the fact that I get to go home to my own house, with my own things, and be with my husband, kids and pets again. Yet at the same time, I know my heart will be longing to stay here with him as much as possible. I don’t think it is something I can mentally prepare for. Once I am home, how often will I even be able to come and see him with having two other kids to take care of, as well as my recovery from most likely a c-section.? People tell me we will find a new normal, but until that happens I just wonder how it can be done.
I just keep trying to remind myself that not all of these things are important. The most important thing is that he and I are both healthy. I have been trying my best not to dwell on the things that truly don’t matter. I think that is all anyone can really do in this situation.
From my hospital bed,